All eyes on Shaheen Bagh press conference on Thursday night
A press conference will be held at the epicentre of anti-Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) protests in the capital--Shaheen Bagh—on Thursday night , said news agency ANI.
It is being speculated that the press conference may be addressed by the representatives of the protesting women camping day and night at the South East Delhi colony bordering Uttar Pradesh’s Gautam Budh Nagar since 14 December 2019.
The press conference will cap a hectic day in capital marked with an alleged right-wing youth opening fire at an anti-CAA protestor near the Jamia Millia University to express his angst against protestors at Shaheen Bagh. The incident sparked unruly protests and a face-off with Delhi police at JMU. The bitter political campaigning for Delhi assembly elections also saw several references made to continuing protests at Shaheen Bagh.
The man who fired at a protestor was waving the firearm over his head and shouting “Yeh lo aazadi” (Take this freedom). Before the attack, he had put out messages on Facebook against Shaheen Bagh protests.
“Shaheen Bhag Khel Khatam (Shaheen Bagh’s game is over),” said one post. Another message stated, “Please wrap me in saffron in my last journey with slogans of Jai Shri Ram”. His Facebook profile was deleted after screenshots of his posts were circulated widely on social media platforms.
The man was overpowered by police and arrested but not before he had already shot and injured student Shahdab Farooq, a Kashmiri studying mass communications. Farooq was seen bleeding from his left hand before he was rushed to the AIIMS Trauma Centre. Police said he was out of danger.
Special Commissioner of Police of Delhi Police has been entrusted with the probe into the incident, said Home Minister Amit Shah. Shah said he had instructed the police to take strict action in the case.
The home minister added that the Central government will not tolerate such incidents and the guilty will not be spared.
Opposition parties such as the CPI (M) said the firing was a result of the alleged “hate speech” by Union ministers and BJP leaders during the Delhi election campaign.
Union minister Anurag Thakur and BJP MP Parvesh Verma were earlier banned from campaigning for three and four days respectively for their controversial remarks. Thakur was accused of inciting a crowd of BJP supporters with provocative slogans like, “Desh Ke Gaddaron ko, Goli maro **lon ko (shoot the anti-nationals).”
Anti-CAA protesters at Delhi’s Shaheen Bagh and other places often raise slogans like CAA se Aazaadi, NRC se Aazaadi (freedom from CAA and NRC).
Shaheen Bagh was invoked on Thursday in political speeches by leaders campaigning for assembly elections, most notably by the home minister and BJP leader Amit Shah, who slammed the Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and his deputy Manish Sisodia for extending support to Shaheen Bagh protestors and not to the refugees who were likely to benefit from the new citizenship law.
“Manish Sisodia says -- ‘We are with Shaheen Bagh.’ I want to tell him that if he is with Shaheen Bagh, then we are with Sanjay Colony.”
Shah said voters in Delhi had to choose between those who eliminate terrorists through surgical strikes and airstrikes carried out inside Pakistan and those who support Shaheen Bag.
The Assembly poll in Delhi is scheduled to take place on February 8. The counting of votes will take place on February 11.